Electra Partners Nabs EURO1B For Fund –

Electra Partners Europe, a U.K.-based private equity firm, which bought itself out from Electra Investment Trust and Robert Fleming in 1999, wrapped up its first independent fund last month with EURO1 billion.

The fund, which carries the same name as the firm, was launched in February of last year with a target of EURO750 million. Nigel McConnell, a managing partner at Electra, said the partners were pleased with the fund raising, though it was not easy. “We capped our fund at 1 billion when we started fund raising,” he said. “We ended up raising well over a billion, so we actually had to scale back investors, which was not something we expected at all.”

McConnell and Robert Clarke, another partner at Electra, led the fund-raising team, which retained Merrill Lynch & Co. as a placement agent.

The fund’s limited partners are balanced between U.S. and European investors. Investors in the fund include: Abbey National, AIG, FERI AG, General Electric Pension Fund, Hamilton Lane Advisors, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Morley Fund Management, , U.S. Steel & Carnegie Pension Fund, Winterthur Life & Pensions and Yale University.

Electra Partners plans to invest this fund in approximately 15 companies over the next three to four years, making equity investments between EURO60 million and EURO80 million. The target transaction size is between EURO100 million and Eur400 million.

The fund’s focus is on middle market buyouts of companies in business support services, consumer goods and services, financial services, industrial and media. The bulk of those investments will likely be in the U.K., France and Germany.

To date, Electra Partners has made two investments from the new fund. The first was the buyout of Safety-Kleen Europe, a pan-European service business, from U.S.-based Safety-Kleen Corp. for approximately EURO150 million. Second, the firm purchased Tom Cobleigh, a food and beverage chain in the U.K., from Rank PLC for EURO146 million.